Thursday, June 01, 2006

Model wind energy ordinance (1)

From the Town Code of the Town of Malone (N.Y.) (enacted May 24, 2006, by unanimous vote):

Wind Energy Facilities

Article I

§ 80–2. Purpose. ... to promote the effective and efficient use of the Town's wind energy resource through wind energy conversion systems (WECS), whithout harming public health and safety, and to avoid jeopardizing the welfare of the residents.

§ 80–4. Findings

A. The Town Board of the Town of Malone finds and declares that:

1. ... the potential benefits must be balanced against potential impacts.

2. The generation of electricity from properly sited small wind turbines can be a cost efffective mechanism for reducing on-site electric costs, with a minimum of environmental impacts.

3. Regulation of the siting and installation of wind turbines is necessary for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of neighboring property owners and the general public.

4. Large-scale multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities represent significant potential aesthetic impacts because of their large size, lighting, and shadow flicker effects.

5. Installation of large-scalee multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities can create drainage problems through erosion and lack of sediment control for facility and access road sites and harm farmlands through improper construction methods.

6. Large-scale multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities may present risks to the property values of adjoining property owners.

7. Large-scale Wind Energy Facilities may be significant sources of noise, which, if unregulated, can negatively impact adjoining properties, particularly in areas of low ambient noise levels.

8. Construction of large-scale multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities can create traffic problems and damage local roads.

9. If improperly sited, large-scale multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities can interfere with various types of communications.

10. The Town has many scenic viewsheds which would be negatively impacted by large-scale multiple-tower Wind Energy Facilities.

§ 80–5. Permits Required

B. No WECS other than a Small WECS shall be constructed, reconstructed, modified, or operated in the Town of Malone. No Wind Measurement Tower shall be constructed, reconstructed, modified, or operated in the Town of Malone, except in conjunction with and as part of an application for a Small WECS.

E. Exemptions. No permit or other approval shall be required under this Chapter for WECS utilized solely for agricultural operations in a state or county agricultural district, as long as the facility is set back at least one and a half times its total height from a property line and does not exceed 120 feet in [total] height.

G. Notwithstanding the requirements of the Section, replacement in kind or modification of a Small WECS may occur without Town Board approval when there will be: (1) no increase in total height; (2) no change in the location of the Small WECS; (3) no additional lighting or change in facility color; and (4) no increase in noise produced by the Small WECS.

Article III. Miscellaneous

§ 80–14. Variances

B. If (1) a court of competent jurisdiction orders the Zoning Board of Appeals to consider a use variance for any Wind Energy Facility other than a Small WECS ... or (2) the prohibition on any Wind Energy Facility other than a Small WECS is invalidated, no Wind Energy Facility shall be allowed except upon issuance of a Special Use Permit ... which shall require a Decommissioning Plan and Removal Bond, a Public Improvement Bond to protect public roads, and compliance with the following minimum setbacks:

a. The statistical sound pressure level generated by a WECS shall not exceed L10-45 dBA [i.e., shall not exceed 45 dBA for more than 6 minutes (10%) of any hour] measured at the nearest off-site dwelling existing at the time of application. If the ambient sound pressure level exceeds 45 dBa, the standard shall be ambient dBA plus 5 dBA.

b. 1,500 feet from the nearest site boundary property line.

c. 1,500 feet from the nearest public road.

d. 1,500 feet from the nearest off-site residence existing at the time of application.

e. One and a half times the total height of the WECS from any non-WECS structure or any above-ground utilities.

f. 250 feet from federal or state-identified wetlands, to protect bird and bat populations. This distance may be adjusted to be greater or less at the discretion of the reviewing body, based on topography, land cover, land uses, and other factors that influence the flight patterns of resident birds.

[Click here for Article II: Small Wind Energy Conversion Systems]

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism